American League umpires declared war on Billy Martin Friday, saying that for the New York Yankees manager to stay in games, "he's going to have to sit in the dugout with his hands folded and his lips shut."
In a conference call with Richie Phillips, executive director of the Major League Umpires Association, the league's seven crew chiefs approved a resolution protesting as far too light the three-day suspension and $1,000 fine given Martin after he threw dirt at umpire Dale Scott Monday night in Oakland.The resolution called the incident "another example of Billy Martin's cowardice," condemned the action as "taproom behavior," denounced American League president Bobby Brown as too lenient, and hinted strongly that Martin would be ejected from any game on which he set foot on the field to protest a call.
Martin did not attend the Yankees game with Baltimore Friday night. Yankees spokesman Harvey Greene said Martin decided to remain at the team's hotel. The team was managed by Mike Ferraro.
"Billy and I talked about our game plan today," Ferraro said. "I'll talk with him before and after the game, but I'll make any moves during the night."
Martin's caused his suspension by kicking dirt on Scott's shoes, scooping a pile of dirt and hitting Scott with it in the lower chest after Scott ejected Martin in the game with the Athletics.
Rich Garcia, crew chief in Monday's game, said the umpires' anger was directed at Brown as much as it was at Martin.
"It's an indication to the fans and the players that we don't agree with the way Dr. Brown handled the situation," Garcia said. "Dr. Brown could have settled it and the umpires wouldn't have had to do this."
Martin, who earlier this year was fined $300 for kicking dirt on umpire Tim Welke, said Thursday Scott encouraged him to throw dirt, baiting him after he had trouble kicking dirt off the wet ground.
"He told me, `Throw some more dirt on me,' and I did," Martin said. "He also said that I kicked him, but the films clearly show that he told an untruth there, too, and the films also will show that he said to me when I walked off the field, `I got you now."'
Phillips claimed that Martin had kicked Scott. He compared the three days given Martin unfavorably with the 30-day suspension to Cincinnati manager Pete Rose after he twice shoved umpire Dave Pallone during an argument in April.
"It's just amazing that Rose, who has been a credit to the game and never had a problem with the umpires gets a 30-day suspension and Martin gets three days," he said. "I think the Rose suspension was justified but I think Martin was treated far too leniently."
Brown, meanwhile, said he hadn't heard from the umpires.
"If the crew chiefs have anything they want to discuss with me, I'll be happy to listen," the league president said Friday in a statement issued through spokeswoman Phyllis Merhige.
In a four-point resolution issued by Phillips, they had a lot to say.
The claimed in point one that the incident "is another example of Billy Martin's cowardice."
"He followed his pattern in singling out the youngest umpire in the crew even though that umpire wasn't involved in the call Billy was upset about," it said.
"You didn't seem him going after Rich Garcia, the crew chief, or Rick Reed, who made the call. He went after the second-year guy," Phillips said. "Martin's attempts to demean and humiliate the umpires only demean his team, his organization and the game of baseball."
The umpires criticized Brown, saying he "has abrogated his responsibilites as president of the American League in that he has done nothing to deter Martin from his relentless attacks on umpires as well as overall conduct which brings disgrace to all of baseball."
"For Martin to stay in games, he's going to have to sit in the dugout with his hands folded and his lips shut. That's what it's going to come down to," Phillips said.